DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Tre Henderson was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the 2018 beating death of 5-year-old Ja'Shawn Bussell.
A Scott County jury in February convicted the 28-year-old of first-degree murder, child endangerment-multiple acts, and child endangerment resulting in death.
On Wednesday, Judge Thomas Reidel sentenced Henderson to life in prison, the mandatory sentence on the murder charge, and up to 50 years in prison on one of the child endangerment charges. Reidel ordered the sentences to run concurrently, or at the same time.
Court records show that Henderson waived his right to be present at Wednesday’s sentencing, an option that defendants have been given due to concerns over the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Bussell’s mother and Henderson's former girlfriend, Jacqueline Rambert, called 911 the night of April 27, 2018 and said her son was choking and unresponsive in their apartment on Emerald Drive in Davenport, according to trial testimony.
The boy was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City. He died May 1, 2018, from complications due to blunt-force injuries to his head.
Rambert testified that Henderson told her he beat the boy with a belt after he urinated and soiled himself on April 20, 2018.
Two days later, she was at work when Henderson brought Bussell to her workplace and claimed he fell off the kitchen counter.
Over the next several days, the boy was vomiting and barely eating, Rambert said.
She admitted that she punched the boy in his side, breaking his ribs, at one point because she was frustrated and nervous when he would not stop biting his lip.
Henderson testified that he never struck the boy or hit him with a belt. He also denied causing Bussell’s fatal injury and said he never saw Rambert hit the boy.
Rambert pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment in January and was sentenced last month to up to 50 years in prison. She must serve at least 20 years before she is eligible for parole. She was given credit for time already spent in the Scott County Jail.